Skip to content
October 9, 2023

Did You Get That Perfect Shot of the Blue Angels in Action?

It was a spectacular display over the weekend for anyone who made it outside for the Blue Angels Air Show. Thursday through Saturday were clear, warm and sunny, with the fog, cool air and breeze returning for Sunday’s show. It’s an amazingly busy weekend on the Bay, which we’ve often missed while attending the Annapolis Boat Show — happening this coming weekend along with the Sausalito Boat Show. We were fortunate to get out and get some shots of the circus in the air and on the water.

Did you get that magic shot? If so, send it to [email protected]. Annie Ellicott and Jeff Berman took a few; what about you?

Fun Shot - Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman caught this Angel climbing the hills of San Francisco. [Correction: Photographer Jeff Berman wrote to say, ” This is a F35B hovering jet and not a Blue Angel. Look at the down draft to Bay Waters. – so now you know.]
© 2023 Jeff Berman

Annie Ellicott
Annie Ellicott caught the Angels and a Bay crowded with sailboats.
© 2023 Annie Ellicott
Blue sky, warm air and flat water made for a pretty ideal Blue Angels Saturday.
© 2023 Annie Ellicott
Jets roar over head
Quintessence had the jets right overhead.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
The Gate and the Jet
The Gate and a jet are always impressive.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Afterburners on
The Angels roared by with afterburners on.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Cal Guard Maritime
Cal Guard Maritime is a state branch of marine patrol that we weren’t really familiar with. They were out helping patrol the show too.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We look forward to seeing you on the Bay and adding some of your photos to our monthly Sailagram.

Have you filled out our reader survey yet

Tropical Storms Lidia and Max Visit Mexico

It’s been an active hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific, though no storms have really turned ashore with devastating winds. Most of the hurricanes have headed west, including Dora, whose winds fanned the devastating fires in Lahaina. Hurricane Hilary went north, and a few towns had severe damage, but its bite was less than its bark. Now it’s Tropical Storm Lidia getting ready to land somewhere between Banderas Bay and Mazatlán, and Tropical Storm Max crossing the shore near Zihuatanejo.

Tropical storms Lidia and Max
Tropical storms Lidia and Max are both lining up for Mexico border crossings.
© 2023 NOAA

Max is already on the coast near Zihuatanejo, with up to 60 mph winds, while Lidia is offshore and heading east, with winds predicted to build to hurricane strength of close to 100 mph before reaching the coast on Tuesday. Lidia’s current track shows the storm hitting the coast in a sparsely populated area, though courses do change and storm impacts vary by tidal surge and every harbor’s particular orientation to the storm.

Tropical Storm Lidia
Tropical Storm Lidia may reach hurricane strength before hitting the coast.
© 2023 NOAA
Tropical Storm Max
Tropical Storm Max is smaller, though flooding and winds are still a risk.
© 2023 NOAA

Hopefully all boats are battened down for storm winds and the projected coastal flooding will be manageable, but washed-out roads and towns are always a concern. We wish the local communities a safe week ahead!


Who’s Heading South in the Baja Ha-Ha? Part 3

But wait … there’s more … Just when you thought you’d learned about all the interesting people joining this year’s Baja Ha-Ha, we bring you another bunch.

Pendragon — Valiant 40
Scott and Jennifer Brigham
Ventura / Whitefish, MT

Baja Ha-Ha
Scott and Jennifer Brigham have amassed miles of ocean sailing and racing.
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

Scott, 60, is the retired vice president of sales for a food company. Jennifer is a retired dermatology medical assistant. Their crew will be Karl Freienmuth, 70, who is retired from the jet-leasing field; Merry Beth Freienmuth, a yoga and wellness studio owner; and Jennifer’s brother Walter Smith, 62, a commercial real estate VP.

There will be a lot of racing experience on Pendragon. Starting in Minneapolis, Scott and Jennifer have raced continually for over 20 years with a Mirage 24, J/22, J/24, and finally a Mumm 36. And Jennifer has participated in a women’s Rolex regatta. In addition, they have eight Chicago to Macs between them, have done a Caribbean 1500 Rally, and crossed the Atlantic as part of an Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Oh yeah, Scott did the 2016 Pacific Cup on the class-winning Cal 40 Redhead, owned by Jennifer’s brother.

The crew doesn’t lack sailing experience either. Karl and Merry Beth, also from Minneapolis, own a Pearson 39.9 and sail her on Lake Superior. Karl is a pilot, a licensed Coast Guard captain, and an expert radio operator. Merry Beth has raced J/22s, J/24s and Mumm 36s, and has participated in a women’s Rolex regatta. Both Merry Beth and Karl have participated in an Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and the Caribbean 1500 aboard Pendragon. Walter Smith, from Fresno, is a lifelong sailor who has raced his Cal 40 Redhead in numerous major offshore races. He took the Navigator Award in the 2016 Pacific Cup when his Cal 40 took first in division and third overall.

Scott and Jennifer purchased Pendragon in Puerto Vallarta in 2004. They then “bashed” her up to San Diego and put her on a truck to Lake Superior for a refit and inland cruising. In 2011 they transited the Great Lakes to the Erie Canal to New York. They participated in the Caribbean 1500 Rally to Tortola and continued as far as St. Lucia before heading back to Tortola and Key West.

They shipped the boat home to Lake Superior from Tampa and trucked her to Ventura when Scott retired in January. Scott and Jennifer now live in Whitefish, Montana, and split their time between Montana and Ventura.

The couple’s plan is to stick close to Cabo, La Paz and the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez. Jennifer is going to practice her ever-more-fluent Spanish, and Scott is going to learn how to kiteboard at Los Barriles. They are hoping for at least one ski trip home to get some turns through the white stuff on Big Mountain!

“Our dream boat is our Valiant,” the couple say. “We’ve owned her for 20 years now, and know every screw, nut, and bolt on the girl. We’ve sailed her through some very serious weather on our trip to Tortola, and she took the waves with ease. Our kids believe Pendragon is their home, since we’ve owned her longer than any of the houses we’ve lived in.

“Scotty and Jeno are our nicknames, and we’re also known as Belts and Suspenders. If anybody needs a certain bolt, nut or wire, come by our boat, which is known as ‘The Chandlery.'”

Natasha — Hardin Sea Wolf 41 (W)
Zelix Slocum and Emma Williams
SF Bay Area

Zelix Slocum and Emma Williams are looking forward to the cruising life.
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

Zelix, 32, is a landscape contractor and stonemason. Emma, 30, is a veteran of a circumnavigation and has already visited remote Pitcairn Island, famous from Mutiny on the Bounty, twice.

“Emma started sailing as a child on San Francisco Bay. Zelix picked up sailing quickly with the purchase of our first boat, an Ericson 27, at the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine. In summer  2021, we purchased Natasha, a 1969 ketch, and we’ve spent the past two years refitting the boat and sailing her around the Bay. Natasha completed a four-year circumnavigation in the early ‘70s with the Bercaw family, and has participated in several previous Ha-Ha’s.

“Our trip down the coast to San Diego will be our longest passage with Natasha, our dream boat. We plan to explore the Sea of Cortez and continue farther south into Mexico after the Ha-Ha. Our dream destination is anchorage-hopping in the Mediterranean.

“Our new sailing hero is Kirsten Neuschäfer, who is the first woman to win the Golden Globe, completing the around-the-world race, minus modern electronics, in under 235 days.”

Emma’s favorite quote is Henry David Thoreau’s “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Zelix’s favorite dessert is mango sticky rice. Since you are wondering, Zelix means unpredictable, adorable, and confident.

Circe — Islander Freeport 41
Dave and Kelly Kendall
Owl Harbor, Isleton (2009, 2013)

Introducing Dave and Kelly — a handy team to know.
© 2023 Baja Ha-Ha

Dave, 57, will be the only underwater bridge inspector in this year’s fleet. Kelly is a retired registered nurse and health inspector. Friend Leslie Skarshaug, an accounting officer, as well as an adrenaline junkie and “adventure firstie,” will be their crew.

Dave has been in or under the water most of his life and isn’t happy if his fingers aren’t wrinkly. He has sailed extensively on San Francisco Bay and in the Delta. He’s also crewed on other people’s boats on two Ha-Ha’s, the Ha-Ha route at a different time of year, and one “adventurous” Tehuantepec crossing that involved jumping overboard to clean the waterline and swim with a turtle.

Kelly has sailed with Dave on San Francisco Bay and in the Delta, was with Dave on the Tehuantepec crossing to El Salvador, and has done the Ha-Ha route on a friend’s boat. But this will be her first Ha-Ha. Kelly’s nursing specialty was health-facility evaluator nurse with the State, a title that sent other nurses running to the break room with their “illegal” water bottles. “If you know, you know,” she says. Kelly doesn’t care about that anymore but will happily serve it up during sundowners. Please stop by! Kelly loves roller coasters, baking, reading, and naps.

Dave and Kelly have owned seven sailboats. “At one point we owned three boats at the same time,” remembers Kelly, “and I had to tell Dave I never again wanted to hear the words ‘boat’ and ‘investment’ in the same sentence.” They’ve owned Circe for five years. They particularly like that she has a drop-down swim ladder built into the transom.

The dream boat for both Dave and Kelly would be a Passport 40. Dave would like to take one to the dive paradise of Palau, while Kelly would prefer the San Blas Islands of Panama. Dave’s sailing hero is Tania Aebi, who did a 99% solo circumnavigation on a 26-footer. She started as an 18-year-old and finished three years later in 1987. Kelly’s hero is Holly Martin, the Wind Hippie Sailing blogger.

Dave’s favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the thing you think you can’t do.” Kelly’s favorite is: “I’m always disappointed when liars’ pants don’t actually catch on fire.”

Dave goes for tiramisu, while Kelly is a crème brûlée girl. Circe, no relation to Cersei Lannister of Game of Thrones fame, was a minor Greek goddess and powerful female sorceress able to concoct powerful potions, and had the power to hide the sun and the moon as she willed. “While we won’t be calling on her powers anytime soon, we do hope she carries us safely on our explorations of the Sea of Cortez and beyond.”

You can learn more about the 29th Cruisers Rally to Mexico here.

Sailors Are Crazy, Humbled by the Sea, and Understand

Who would ever cross an ocean singlehanded? Or sail nonstop around the world? Or take young children on a multi-year offshore cruise? Though much of the world sees these adventures as crazy, Latitude 38 readers do these things regularly and understand others who do the same.

We believe the understanding comes from all sailors having moments when they’ve been humbled by the sea. Whether you’re Randall Reeves doing a singlehanded 40,000-mile figure-eight voyage around the world, or someone who, like us, has botched a landing at their marina slip, we know all sailors have faced moments when the sea has shown who’s boss. We’re constantly learning, adjusting, and facing moments when experience helps but doesn’t have all the answers.

Liz Clark
Liz Clark set sail on her Cal 40 Swell for a solo sailing/surfing safari in her early 20s and has been at it for almost 20 years.
© 2023 Courtesy Liz Clark

When Donald Lang takes off on an almost one-year, 16,000-mile, nonstop solo voyage at sea just to “get away from it all,” most sailors understand it even if they’d never consider it. The same happens when Webb Chiles does a solo circumnavigation aboard a Moore 24 while in his 70s, or Kenichi Horie sails solo from San Francisco to Japan in a 20-ft boat at 83 years of age, or Liz Clark sets sail solo aboard a Cal 40 at 23 years of age. In Latitude 38‘s current issue, we have the story of 86-year-old Peter Hartmann, who recently sailed solo 7515 miles aboard his 52-ft sloop, from the Marshall Islands to Puerto Vallarta. Who of us can say what can and can’t be done?

Kenichi Horie
Would you let your kid set sail on this at age 23? Kenichi Horie’s parents didn’t let him go either. He went anyway.
© 2023 San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

These people are all certifiably insane, right? Yet Latitude readers “get it.” In contrast to the commentary you hear on much of today’s “unsocial media,” Latitude 38 readers are one of the most thoughtful and understanding communities we know. When presented with adventures like those above or with mothers who want to take their children across an ocean to explore the world, most Latitude 38 readers understand in a way the general populace never will.

As Webb Chiles noted in his recent video, “The single word that comes to mind is freedom …” as the reason for his numerous offshore adventures. Sailors have seen the stars and experienced nature in ways missed by far too many people. It’s the reason, we sense, comments on our website are generally very thoughtful and generous. Though most would never head off on any of these more extreme voyages, they understand the allure of being completely immersed in a sailing voyage where the wind, sea and sky are your only companions.

Webb Chiles
70+-year-old Webb Chiles left San Diego aboard his Moore 24 Gannet for a solo circumnavigation in February 2014.
© 2023 Steve Early

We do see the occasional harsh critique from armchair sailors who may not understand the decisions made in the midst of a crisis at sea. Or they may not understand why inexperienced sailors would head off in an ill-equipped boat or before having achieved their perception of “appropriate” experience, but most sailors know of endless numbers of successful yet improbable voyages completed by inexperienced sailors. Kenichi Horie is now a revered voyager, though when he left Japan without a passport, but with a bag of rice, in a 23-ft plywood boat at age 23 in 1962, many would have thought he’d never be heard from again.

Not all sailing voyages have happy endings. We’ve had to write our fair share of sad tales. Despite these misfortunes, most Latitude 38 readers understand the attraction of escaping controlled life ashore to attempt great adventures. They are slow to pass judgment. They know no amount of experience can keep every sailor safe, and bad luck, misfortune, accidents and simple mistakes can happen to anyone.

We were inspired to write these thoughts as we reviewed comments from our readers and saw the wisdom in their words. As an edited publication rather than a bulletin board of critique, we occasionally delete comments that we feel are out of line, but happily note that it is rare. Like everyone remotely judging the actions of others, we know there is ample room for disagreement, but we remain endlessly appreciative of the perspective gained by sailors on the sea. The sea humbles all of us, so many sailors have the wisdom to be thoughtful when judging the actions of others.

Sailors may appear crazy, but there’s a bond and understanding gained when they cast off from the shore.


Join Us for the Last Call Boat Show Party

Latitude 38 and Spaulding host the Last Call in Paradise Party at the Sausalito Boat Show on Sunday, October 15. Music and party from 11-3 p.m. with happy hour 12-2 p.m., featuring the Cruz Boys and a tribute to Jimmy Buffett. Get your discount beer tickets at the Latitude 38 and Spaulding booths — it’s 5 o’clock somewhere! FREE admission with show ticket; use code: LAT38 for $5 off boat show entry upon ticket purchase:

Fleet Week
As jets rumble overhead and contrails fleck the sky like brushstrokes, Fleet Week (2023), the Bay Area's largest annual boating event, roars to life.
A Matter of Degrees
California is home to great training resources for anyone who wants to pursue a professional sailing and maritime career. Cal Maritime Academy is right off San Pablo Bay in Vallejo, and graduates new classes of merchant marines every year.